Indianapolis mayor pushes for $350-million roads project that would borrow $150 million

INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is reaching out to the community, saying he wants to make roads smoother by reducing the risk of potholes. But he said he needs the city’s help.

RebuildIndy I wrapped up Thursday night. Now, the mayor wants drivers who use city roads to talk to their council members, telling them they support RebuildIndy II, which is essentially a second round of funding for infrastructure improvements.

In the Thursday-night neighborhood meeting (the first of more than a dozen) the mayor pushed the idea. It’s one that was shot down last fall, but he hopes it can rejuvenate now that road conditions are in the public eye after a brutal winter.

Ballard said the roads that were resurfaced with Rebuild Indy I held up better this winter, and that could be the case for even more roads in the future if the $350-million project goes ahead.

Ballard said that requires the city to borrow money.

“It’s $150 million, up to $150 million that we want to borrow,” Ballard said. “We think if we do that, between what the state is going to be giving us over the next few years and the federal dollars we can leverage, we would get around $250 million more. So that would (get us) to the $350 million.

“But we'd only be paying back the ($150 million) over the next 20, 25, 30 years, whatever it comes out to be.”

It’s a pricey idea, and some members of the City-County Council worry the city simply won’t be able to pay back what it borrows.

Residents who feel strongly one way or the other should make their voices heard, as the city does want feedback. Head here to give your opinion on the idea.

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